O’siyo. The National Museum Of The American Indian (NMAI) will Honor singer and Native rights activist Buffy Sainte-Marie for Women’s History Month onThursday March 14, 2013. Ms. Marie is a member of the Cree Nation and has inspired many Natives (and non-Natives) with her songs, good will, and most especially her projects for children.
”Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) won an Oscar for the song “Up Where We Belong”, which is also the name of the museum’s popular music exhibition. The artist is featured in a Native Sounds Downtown concert, which highlights old hits and new compositions focused on “the art of the protest song.” -NMAI-2013
The Many Faces of Buffy Sainte-Marie
“Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early Sixties,.. she toured North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls…By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day….her “Universal Soldier” became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard’s Best New Artist.
She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music “deserved to be suppressed”, and radio airplay disappeared…In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew.
Denied an adult television audience in the U.S., in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for five years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM (American Indian Movement) events and other activist benefits in Canada and the U.S… and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for the song Up Where We Belong.”
“This banner exhibition highlights Native people who have been active participants in contemporary music for nearly a century…Many have been involved in each form of popular music — from jazz and blues to folk, country, and rock. In this exhibition their stories will be told, along with the history behind them. Visitors can hear samples of these music greats and find out with whom they collaborated, learn by whom they were inspired, and consider contemporary artists whom they influenced. Highlights include Jimi Hendrix’s (Cherokee) colorful patchwork full-length leather coat.”
Video of Buffy Sainte-Marie singing ”Up Where We Belong”
“Instead of kids just hearing about beads and baskets and fringe, and about what ‘was’ and ‘were,’ we present Native American culture as a living contemporary culture.”~Artist Buffy Saint-Marie~ Cree Nation
We extend our Congratulations and Blessings to Buffy and her wonderful projects!
Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”) Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.
We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpedia which offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes. Included are Discussion Questions for students.
Visit some our reader’s favorite posts! Many thanks.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather”. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”